Star Wars Garland with Death Star Ornament

In retrospect, I probably should have had this ready to post a few weeks ago on May the Fourth.

Well, in complete honesty, it should have been up a few months ago, but hey, what are ya gonna do?  Life happens, amiright?  Let’s just pretend that I completely intended to post it on the weekend that Solo came out.

Speaking of which, Disney and Lucasfilm really dropped the ball on that one.  They could totally have released Solo on May 4th, since that was a Friday.  Release a Star Wars movie on Star Wars Day?  I’m tellin’ ya, missed opportunity!

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Anyway, back to the point…

Over the Christmas holiday I put up a pretty garland in my hobbit hole (windowless basement family room) with lots of sparkly red decorations.  I had bought the greenery a few years ago but never actually put it up until last Christmas, and after the holidays were over, I didn’t really want to take it down.  It took a long time to get it all fluffed up and looking pretty!

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So I brainstormed what I could put up instead.  Knowing me, and the room it was hanging in, of course it had to be something geeky.

I picked up a bunch of Star Wars ornaments on clearance after Christmas, thinking I could incorporate them into the garland somehow.  A couple of them were also gifted to me.

I also picked up this very large, sparkly, round plastic ornament.

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Bet you can guess where this is headed.  😉

Not wanting all the texture from the glitter on my ball, I experimented a bit and figured out that felt scraps soaked in 100% acetone took the glitter off fairly easily.

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After much time, elbow grease, and fumes, the ornament was nice and smooth.  I also used acetone to take the gold off the hanger so it would match the rest of the ball when it was done.

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A couple base coats of gray paint later and it’s starting to resemble something out of Star Wars.

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The ball is literally as big as my  head!

After the base coat was dry, I added the equator trench in paint.  Now remember, this is all done freehand so it’s definitely not going to be perfect!  I pulled up a couple images of the original Death Star on my computer and sketched out in pencil all the sections to paint darker.  And then, of course, I painted them!

 

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I know it’s not 3D with a divot for the laser dish, but I still like it.  When I got the paint job this far, it was still pretty cold out, so I hung it up without a final sealant coat.  Now that it’s nice out, I need to give it a spray coat of sealer so the paint doesn’t scratch off it.  Nothing is touching it when it’s hanging up with the garland, so I figured it was safe until it warmed up.

I needed something else to decorate the garland with besides just the Death Star and the ornaments I picked up, so I cut out some rebel and empire symbols from sparkly cardstock.  I wasn’t sure how the Cricut would cut glitter cardstock, so I just printed out patterns and traced them on the back of the cardstock, then cut them out by hand.  All the little pieces from the middle of the empire symbols were cut with an exacto knife.  That took a while.  But I love the sparkle that the symbols add to the garland.

And last, but not least, I also got myself the Star Wars Lego Advent calendar in December.  I pulled out the ships from the different builds to put on the garland.

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Everything is attached to the garland with floral wire, except the Death Star, which is hanging on the hook in the ceiling that is holding the swag.  One half is Empire, the other half is Rebellion.  I thought about mixing them, but decided I liked the divided look better.

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And now one of my favorite fandoms hangs above my television so I get to admire it whenever I’m binging another series on Netflix.

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Well, hello there strangers!

And suddenly, out of nowhere, a wild blog post appears!

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Hey guys!  How’s everybody doing?  Been a while, I know.  This has been just one of the craziest falls in recent history.  I don’t have a card to share with you today, but I thought I’d jump on anyway and give a life update instead in an attempt to explain the lack of posts.

So, where did we leave off?  Oh yeah, I was making costumes for Dragon Con.  Well, D*C was two months ago already, and it was a blast!  My mom and I got all three costumes done in time.

Me and my cousin Hollie as Merlin and Arthur, Applejack, me as Jyn with a sand trooper from Rogue One

Applejack was my most popular at the con itself.  I only ended up giving away 5 of my apple keychains, though, and 4 of them were to one group of girls.  But those girls totally made my day with how they adored the costume, so I wasn’t too disappointed.  I’m glad I didn’t carry the entire bag of apples around with me all day, though!  Guess I have a lot for next time I wear the costume.  ButI do need to fix quite a few of them because the hot glue isn’t holding the leaves on the apples like I hoped it would.  So that’ll be a whole process to fix those and find a better glue.

I was going to do a whole post on how I weathered the costumes, but that seems like kind of a moot point now.  Basically, I used three different kinds and colors of fabric spray paint and a couple different colors of shoe polish rubbed on the clothes to weather them down.  I did wash most of the clothes (I think everything except Jyn’s vest) after getting home, and some of the weathering did come out, so I’ll have to redo some of that before the costumes come out to play again.

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Here’s one before and after of the weathering process:

So, that was the beginning of September.  A couple weeks later, my entire family, along with my Grandma, went on vacation to the Cincinnati area and went to the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum.

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That was a fun week.  Lots of driving, but we definitely made some good memories.  It was fun to go to those places with my brother and grandma, since they had never been there before.  And on the last day before we started heading home, my mom and I went to a museum that had a traveling display called “Star Wars: The Power of Costumes” and they had a TON of the costumes that were actually used in the films on display, as well as original concept art and other stuff.  That was so cool!  I’m sure glad I found that online when we were in the hotel looking for things to do in the area.  🙂   And we were there just in time, too, because it was the last week that the display was going to be at that museum before moving on to its next location!

The other major news of the last couple months is the fact that I moved!  The day after I got back from Dragon Con, my brother, Mom, and I went to a few houses with my brother’s realtor and he found the house he wanted!  So, all that kind of stuff took up time in those couple weeks between Dragon Con and Cincinnati, then after we got home from Ohio it was time to pack!  My craft stuff was actually some of the first stuff to get packed, so I haven’t even had access to it to make a card for the blog.

We moved in a couple weeks ago, and are slowly getting settled.  My mom is planning on coming over tomorrow to help me hang up my art gallery and some other stuff, and then it will really start feeling like home.

And on top of everything else, as if it wasn’t enough, I’m also on jury duty this month.  😛  Like I needed THAT extra stress in my life right now.

It may be a couple more weeks until I finally get everything organized and actually have space on my craft desk and access to my paper crafts to make a card again.  But I tell you what, I am in such a “making” mood right now, I just want to:

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I have so many things I want to do, especially before Christmas, which will be here before we know it!  Can you believe Thanksgiving is in two weeks?!  I don’t even have any new Christmas cards made yet.  But seriously, now that I’m living with one of the few people I sent a card to, I think I really only need 2 cards!  How sad is that?  But I have a few other things I want to work on as well, so for the rest of this year I will hopefully be posting some cards, other paper crafts, and some other fun crafts as well.

I’ve definitely been missing crafting and blogging, so here’s hoping that very soon things will get back on a regular schedule!  Talk to you soon!

Cosplay Update #3: Jyn’s Accessories

When I decided I wanted to cosplay as Jyn, I had to decide what stage of her outfit I wanted to do.  Did I want to go full-Jedha incursion with the scarf and coat?  Black Imperial spy outfit?  I opted for the most basic, recognizable outfit which we see through the whole movie and which she is wearing at the end.  But obviously a cosplay like this is more than just the clothes. Girl’s gotta have some accessories, too!

I ordered several 3D printed kits of items for this costume.  This was the first time I’ve ever worked with 3D printed stuff, and it was a learning experience to be sure!  Everything’s gotta be sanded down smooth and I think I went through 6 different grits of sandpaper, starting with the roughest and working my way down to either 600 or 800 grit.  Some of the items with a lot more texture I spray painted with a filler primer before I sanded them to make it a little easier.

Then came painting.

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Everything got at least some if not all of it painted with enamel spray paints.  Parts I didn’t want spray paint on I taped off.  Details were done with model paints.

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These were the two easiest kits to finish.  The badge for Jyn’s vest was two pieces; the red button was a separate piece that was glued on.  And the silver clip on the comm link on the right was also glued on and the two silver screws are really just for looks.

The blaster and truncheon were a bit more complicated.  Actually, the truncheon wasn’t that bad, it just had more parts to glue together, but it didn’t really need any extra detail painting.  The blaster, however, was a PROCESS!

I did most of the detail painting before it was glued together, then after it was glued I added a few finishing touches.

When you don’t have a clamp to hold parts together while the glue sets, you use what’s available, and in this case it was wrapping them tightly with painters tape!  I glued the pieces and let them set one at a time.  The two final pieces to glue were the hand grips, and man, they caused the most trouble of all the 3D printed stuff!  They warped when I sprayed them with the filler primer, I’m assuming because they got moist and the sun was beating on them, which heated up the plastic.  So instead of having to contact the seller I bought them from to see if I could order just those two pieces again, I did some online research to see if they were salvageable.  Turns out, if you heat up 3D printed plastic in a little bit of water on the stove, it becomes pliable again so you can flex it to bend it straight.  So I did that after the first time it warped.  Then it warped again after I painted them black.  So I needed to fix it again, and it took multiple hot water baths to get them to sit flush on the handle of the blaster.

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They finally fit, but the process of reheating made the back of the pieces get a rippled effect, so I made sure to use expanding Gorilla Glue to glue them on.  I didn’t use enough on one of them (I was afraid of it expanding too much and oozing out like on some earlier pegs!) so you can see a little bit of daylight when you look between the pieces.  Hopefully it will hold!

In the end, though, after the finishing paint touches, it turned out pretty awesome.

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And of course, what’s a blaster without a belt and holster to put it in?!

I bought the leather to make the belt and holster several months ago, and the gentleman who owns and runs the leather shop I bought it from was SO helpful in figuring out what I needed and how to make it.  I was a bit nervous to actually work on it though, since the leather wasn’t cheap and I haven’t done anything like this before and I was afraid I’d screw up big time.  But with his tips, the little experience I do have working with leather, and lots of reference pics, I am so happy with how it turned out!

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I had a few hiccups in the process of making it, but in the end, it’s pretty much exactly how I hoped it would be!

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I’m still waiting for the buckles for Jyn’s boots to show up.  I got notice that they finally shipped end of last week, so hopefully in the next couple days they’ll get here and I can get the boots done, too!

Cosplay Update #2 – Applejack’s Apples

Ok, I know I know!  I have failed miserably at that whole “weekly updates” thing as I’ve been working on my costumes for Dragon Con.  Let’s just get my acknowledgement and apology for that out of the way right now.

I’m sorry.

Can we just move on now?

I have been very busy working on costumes and have a lot to share with you, enough that I’m going to break this up into two posts.  Today I shall share the adorable little gifts I made to go with Applejack, and tomorrow I’ll give an update on Jyn.

In the midst of planning my Applejack cosplay, I decided I wanted a little something to give to any kids that might get extra excited about my costume.  I had thought about it, but fully decided to do it when a gal in one of my facebook groups told the story of how her daughter was given a little jar of pixie dust from a Tinkerbell cosplayer years ago and she STILL talks about it.  Knowing how something small like that can make a kid’s con experience so much more special sealed the deal and I ordered 100 little wooden apples.

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I painted the apples red, and since they had a little hold drilled into the top, I dried them upside down on toothpicks stuck in a piece of insulation foam.  That worked pretty well for avoiding marring the wet paint.

And of course, I couldn’t work on My Little Pony stuff without watching the show as I worked!

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Bonus points if you can tell me which episode this is from!  😀

So after I had all 100 apples painted with 2 coats of red, I took them outside and sprayed them with a satin finish coat.

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I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how they turned out as some of them kind of had a weird grayish cast on them, but after they were dry I rubbed them all down with a rag and that seemed to buff that off, so I moved on.

I screwed little eye hooks into the holes on top for the “stem”, and I was positive I was going to have a blister or two by the time I was done!

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Thankfully no fingers were permanently damaged in the process.  I only had 80 hooks (I bought Menards out), and I broke one while screwing it in, so I ended up with 79 acceptable apples.  I did glue the broken hook back into the 80th apple and I’ll hang it on my Christmas tree next to my Applejack ornament, so it’s been salvaged at least.

The process of gluing the leaves on top was a bit of a challenge, though.  I tried a couple different glues before settling on hot glue and I had about 30 or more done when I kind of tugged on one of the leaves and it popped right off!  I had bought a branch of greenery from Michaels and snipped all the leaves off to use, but they had a kind of velvety, fuzzy coating on them and the glue stuck to that and not the plastic of the leaves themselves.  So the fuzzy coating stayed glued to the apple and the leaves themselves peeled off.

Ugh.

So, I peeled all the leaves back off the apples and scraped off all glue.  And re-glued them back down.  Since the fuzzy coating was gone and the actual plastic leaves were exposed, they glued down for real the second time.  So for the rest of the leaves, I  scraped the fuzzy stuff off the bottom of the leaves with an exacto knife before gluing them down.  I also had to trim about 20 of the leaves smaller, since there were two sizes of leaves and the bigger size was just too big.

But in the end, after adding a little ball chain, they turned out pretty darn cute.

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I’m not especially looking forward to carrying around 79 wooden apple keychains during the con, but I am looking very forward to giving them away to happy little kids.  I just hope that by the end of the day, my load is a lot lighter!  So, if you’re at Dragon Con on Sunday and you see an Applejack wandering around, come say hi and geek out over my costume and you just might get “a little somethin’ straight from Sweet Apple Acres”!

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